Associate professors allowed to lead promotion


Next to professors, associate professors will be allowed to lead promotions from now on. This week, the senate voted in favor of this. Associate professor Lotte Jensen and Arts dean Margot van Mulken hope that Radboud University does not stay behind.

Faculty of Arts dean Margot van Mulken already said it two years ago: give associate professors the right to be promotor. After all, they are the ones who guide the researchers on a day-to-day basis. It is strange to name a professor who follows the process from a distance as promotor. She is happy with the change in the law.

Just like arts associate professor and member of the Young Academy Lotte Jensen. ‘The Young Academy is pursuing this for ten years, and is happy and proud!’, she e-mails as a reaction to the law change.

The question is whether they cheer prematurely. Universities are not obliged to follow the new rules. But Van Mulken and Jensen hope that Radboud University goes along with this change. Van Mulken: ‘It is good for an associate professor’s career to say that hey have been promotor as well. It helps when you write proposals for new grants.’

‘Associate professors with an ERC, Vidi or Vici will just go somewhere else’

When one university starts doing this, others have to follow, says Jensen. ‘Otherwise, a university loses its appeal in comparison with other universities. So associate professors with an ERC, Vidi or Vici will just go somewhere else.’ Good researchers might move elsewhere, where they are allowed to be promotor, says Van Mulken. ‘I have heard associate professors say that. So this is more than a formality.’

The expansion of the PhD rules was also endorsed by the association for universities, the VSNU. In other countries, this has been normal for years. Before, a chance of the rules was still met with resistance. ‘We do not have professors for nothing’, was the opinion of – mostly – professors. They were appointed to guarantee the research quality within the faculty and were expected to take that seriously.

In the approved bill proposal, professors still play a big role. They are the ones who decide which associate professor is allowed to take on the role of promotor. The house of representatives wanted to give everybody with a doctorate the promotion right, but that was too much for the Senate.

If an associate professor sends her a request to be a promotor – someone with a grant and experience with guidance – dean Van Mulken will definitely react with goodwill.

The Executive Board is still thinking about a reaction

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